Saint Mary's Magazine
November 02, 2013
The Christian Brothers purchased the bronze bell in the Korth Tower in 1869–70 for the San Francisco campus. When SMC moved to Oakland, the bell stayed behind and was later installed in the nearby St. John the Evangelist Church. In 1987 the East Bay Scholarship Fund purchased it for the campus to commemorate the College’s 125th anniversary.
A similar but much smaller “Brothers’ Bell” is mounted in the Fenlon Hall belfry. In the first years after the Moraga campus was established, the bell was used to call the Brothers to services and meals, but it is seldom rung today.
Saint Mary’s most curious bell is the Mexican Monastery Gate Bell with its attendant friar and ornate wrought-iron mounting. The Gate Bell was once mounted on the Rheem Estate Stables before it was subdivided for development in the 1950s. The bell now watches over library activities from a pillar next to the library circulation desk.
The “Little Big Game” bell, displayed in Brother Jerome West Hall, was a ship’s bell from a WWII freight-hauling boat. It became the hotly contested trophy for football games with Santa Clara. When Santa Clara lost its final varsity football game to SMC in 1991, the bell disappeared. In 1999 an unidentified person dropped it off at our front gate.